Those who work with .NET will definitely want to check out Microsoft's library of .NET Framework tools, part of the company's .NET Framework SDK available online. As part of this library, you'll find a very useful CLR Debugger, otherwise known as DbgCLR.exe, ready for you to download and use it in your everyday work.
As its name implies, this tool provides debugging services to help application developers find and repair bugs in programs that incorporate the Common Language Runtime (CLR). What makes it particularly interesting and useful is that it provides a graphic interface to help aid this process -- a great improvement over old-fashioned methods that involve step-by-step code execution or instrumenting code so it can report on what it's doing (and hopefully, on what's going amiss). Those already familiar with the Visual Studio 2005 debugger will find this tool quite familiar, because this CLR debugger is based on ongoing efforts to create and maintain the Visual Studio 2005 debugger.
What's different about the CLR debugger is that it doesn't implement all the features found in the Visual Studio 2005 debugger. Some what's not available is as follows:
Using the CLR Debugger requires that you work with solutions to associate source files with the applications being debugged. A solution is created automatically when you open a compiled application along with associated source file(s). Thereafter, whenever you want to debug, simply open the application instead of loading the source file and compiled application separately. The first time you use this tool, you must select a program to debug from the debug menu, locate the program and provide any arguments it needs, after which you must open all related source files. After that, the solution is available for use instead.
If you work with the CLR, you owe it to yourself to learn and use this tool.
Ed Tittel is a full-time writer and trainer whose interests include XML and development topics, along with IT Certification and information security. Send comments, queries, or suggested topics or tools for review to Ed at email@example.com.
This was first published in April 2006